Publish Date
October 11, 2023
Pages Count
Press Release
October 11, 2023


  1. This submission focuses on international human rights and humanitarian law violations by the Government of Yemen and allied armed groups, as well as by the armed group Ansar Allah (the Houthis), as supported by Mwatana’s original factfinding and documentation. 
  2. Mwatana conducts in-depth investigations in the field, including direct inspections of attack and incident sites and interviews. For the purposes of this report, Mwatana also conducted three focus group interviews with children who faced rights abuses, as well as adults who worked with impacted child populations. Mwatana interviewed 23 children about patterns of abuse they experienced or observed, as well as eight adults who worked with children, about abuses from all parties to the conflict.
  3. Yemen's armed conflict began in September 2014, when the Ansar Allah (Houthis) armed group and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh took control of the capital Sana'a by force. In March 2015, following a letter from then President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi requesting intervention, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), leading a coalition of nine Arab countries, began military operations in Yemen.
  4. In April 2022, the Government of Yemen transitioned power from President Hadi to a Presidential Leadership Council, and Hans Grundberg, UN Special Envoy for Yemen, announced a two-month truce. All offensive military operations in Yemen and across its borders were suspended under the truce. However, the parties to the conflict in Yemen did not fully implement the United Nations-backed truce agreement, which was not extended after October 2022. During the truce, Mwatana documented numerous violations and abuses resulting in civilian casualties.
  5. Civilians in Yemen have suffered hugely from this armed conflict. After more than nine years of war, Yemen is still facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis. In 2023, an estimated 21.6 million people, 51% of them children, will need humanitarian assistance and protection services. 
  6. Children in particular have suffered severe and widespread abuses from conflicting parties. During the course of the conflict, children have consistently suffered from the six grave violations against children identified by the United Nations, including recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming, and attacks on schools and hospitals. Through Mwatana’s focus group discussions, participants discussed abuses in these categories, including the impact of landmines on children, injuries resulting from coalition airstrikes, and the harms of child recruitment. 
  7. Children also highlighted the denial of their social and economic rights, including the lack of access to basic education, and lack of adequate health care--in particular services for children with disabilities, and psychosocial support.  
  8. There is currently no independent international accountability mechanism focused on Yemen, despite the ongoing war. Since the termination of the UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts (GEE), in October 2021, the lack of an accountability-focused mechanism has further entrenched impunity for violators and made the possibility of achieving justice and redress for victims seem unattainable. 
  9. Between January 2019 and September 2023, the warring parties continued their wider assault on human rights in Yemen. The internationally recognized government of Yemen has legal and moral obligations towards violations committed by state and non-state actors in Yemen, particularly where it has requested or consented to military action. Yemen cannot lawfully consent to acts on its territory that would be unlawful if Yemen itself carried out such acts. Yemen also cannot lawfully provide aid or assistance to other states, including to the Saudi-led coalition and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where such assistance contributes to breaches of human rights law. Yemen must also take appropriate measures to protect individuals against violations by other states operating in Yemen, including by making adequate inquiries and putting in place sufficient safeguards to ensure that acts by other states on their territory comply with human rights law.
  10. This submission sets out the most significant patterns of violations by the internationally recognized Government of Yemen, UAE-backed forces, and members of the Saudi and UAE-led coalition in section II. Section III sets out violations and abuses by the Ansar Allah (Houthi) armed group. Section IV includes recommendations, and section V sets out questions which member states could pose to the Yemeni Government.